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DIY: Print on canvas
I really loved this idea after reading it from “A Beautiful Mess” blog.
So, for my Seoul T.fam’s (STF?) secret santa this year, I made a print on canvas of Hongdae’s Tiger Rabbit (since it’s not there and we are not there anymore).
I made some for me too* and I hope this can inspire others to make your own :)
[[ Here are the instructions and some of my notes ]]
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- the image you want on it - Laser copy is the way to go! I did some test and tried it with regular paper and it just didn’t work. Also, remember, your image will print reversed! Reversed them before printing it out if that will bother you.
- stretch canvas - I used 8x10 that I got from Michael’s… but I’m sure you can get them at any art store.
- gel medium - I used Golden’s Gel Medium-Heavy Gel (Matte). There are different kinds of gel medium (soft, regular, heavy, etc.). Have fun with it! Try using different one!
- paint brush - I suggested using a brush with synthetic hair. I tried using the cheap brushes (since I knew it was gonna end up being all hard anyway) and it just didn’t work. Some hair will fall off.
- spray bottle - You’ll need it once you start removing the paper.
1. Completely cover your canvas with gel medium. Use a heavy coat - (2-3 heavy layer/coat). Make sure to spread them out evenly! You’ll end up having air bubbles and you don’t want that. Keep it flat!
2. Press the photo copy onto the canvas and let it dry for several hours or overnight. - Again, make sure you don’t leave with it air bubble! I also put another layer of gel medium on the back of the photo… to put more weight for the transferring? The image transferred faster and had less tear damage when removing the paper.
This was cool (this was when it was drying):
3. After your image is completely dry, use a spray bottle to wet the top of the paper. - I didn’t have a big spray bottle and was too impatient to use my little bottle to spray the whole 8x10 canvas. Instead, I ran the canvas through a LOW running cold water. Run it that it’s just enough that it will get the front side of the canvas wet.
4. Rub the surface with your fingers until pieces of the paper start coming off. - Start from the corner. If you ran it through the water, the first layer should be easy to peel off. Get the canvas wet (or use your spray bottle) and continue to rub the paper (GENTLY!*) until your image reveal.
*This is the hardest part and takes more patience than you know. It’s also messy! Be careful not to rub it too hard because it can removed some part of your image on accident… and you might just beat yourself up for it. So, be patience! :) It’s worth it!
5. Continue until all the paper is removed and the image is completely visible!
6. Cover your canvas with one more coat of gel medium to seal and protect the image. - The blog suggest it but after discussing it with my boyfriend, we both knew that it would just look really matted and boring if I seal the picture with a coat of gel medium. Unless when you’re making it, that’s what you want, knock yourself out. I wasn’t digging the matted look.
7. After you removed all the paper out, Leave it to dry again!
8. Protect your finished product.
- I used Krylon Crystal Clear Finish (in other words, clear glossy spray paint) as an image protector and gave my finished canvas a shiny/wet look.
- Painting the side of your canvas with acrylic paint. Of course, that’s totally up to you. I do suggest NOT using watercolor paint because it will take longer to dry, leaving you with that “wet paint” feel.
- This is noted on the blog but do understand that each transfer will be different and would have an imperfect transfer. Do try working on an image that doesn’t have too much detail. It’s harder to deal with if the image is too detailed (e.i. A picture of someone’s face and the nose part was accidentally removed. So not cute).
That’s all. Hope this was helpful. Let me know if you also tried this DIY and/or you can suggest on other variations :D
Winner of the Print Contest
Our contest is over, and we are honored to congratulate sleepdeprivedsenior for winning the contest!! Stay tuned for the next contest for your chance to win an art piece!
replies to replies
WOW! My DIY: Print on canvas has had an overwhelming responds. I love creative people and I love it more when they share with others :)
My friend’s birthday is this saturday so I had already commit to the pasting before I saw your reply! Well I used document paper, and the middle is quite fine but the edges are beyond repair. The sad thing is, I brought all of my acrylic paint to my dorm and didn’t leave any here at home so I don’t know how to hide the damage. Also I used my acrylic paintbrush and it’s fine. What paper do you recommend using if not print paper?
Here’s my result! I couldn’t post it because my friend who’s the present recipient follows me.
[…] I had to do some edge cleaning, therefore the black perimeter is purely painted via sharpie. I ruined 4 sharpie on this mission. Then I did a horrible job varnishing with the medium gel, which was not recommended by the company to be used as a varnish. I used tape that was too adhesive and ruined the right side of the transfer… which also ruined my night. Hmm well in the future, I’m going to photoshop my images beforehand for a B&W grunge texture so that the holes accentuates the picture. I plan on doing some more of these, especially since I bought a pack of 10 8x10 canvases. Hah, I’ll show you my results when I do! :)
It made me smile that my DIY inspired you to do this and give it to your friend!
From what I learned, everyone can do art. “Mistakes” will clearly happened but you can take that as a fuck up or a blessing in disguise. I actually dig the black border. Gives a little bit of your own twist on it. I’m sure your friend appreciate your effort :)
For paper, I suggest using photo print papers. I’d go for the glossy because those paper usually dries a little bit longer, meaning easier transfer. If you don’t have a printer or anything, I suggest just going to a Kinko’s or a copy place and get it there. I went to a Copy This! and printed about five photos and it cost me around $3…?
Having “holes” isn’t always bad… unless it’s super ruin… kinda like what I did here:
(This is how it would look like if you don’t have enough patience and use a document paper and rub the ish out of them.)
But again, you can use it as a blessing in disguise and make something different from it:
These are the ones that are currently on my wall.
As you can see, both the cherry blossoms and the Seattle landscape picture have “holes.” Let’s just say you can expect an imperfect transfers but that’s the beauty of it!
The bottom picture was one of the “ruin” canvases. I just painted it with acrylic paint… and bam! New use of the canvas. No need to waste them!
And yes, please show me other variations or results as you make them. Have fun!
Hey there. I saw your post on about that DIY canvas imprinting and I plan on doing it for a birthday present to a friend and a thank-you present to my professor. I have some questions if you don't mind! :) 1. You said "I did some test and tried it with regular paper and it just didn’t work" Should not use printing paper? 2. I have an art paintbrush that I use for acrylic. Would I destroy it if I use it? 3. Do you have to use a laser printer? Thanks!
Yay. I’m glad this inspired you!
Really good questions. I’m glad to answer them.
- With printing paper, you mean just regular/document paper… then, no, it won’t work. The regular/document paper style will just leave your canvas super messy (when it’s time to take the paper off), it will peel easily to the point that you’ll rub through it (leaving “holes” on your canvas), and the picture won’t transfer because the paper is thin.
- Having your image laser print will give you a much thicker paper to 1.) hold all that weight from the gel medium and 2.) it’ll be easier to transfer (Ever tried rubbing your fingers through a laser print right after it comes off from the print? It rubs off easily).
- The paintbrushes will be hard after you use it with gel medium. I tried rinsing it off, washing it, and everything… it still stayed the same. So, I suggest buying a new or use (thrift store/goodwill/etc.) when doing this project. I only used my regular paintbrushes when I decided to paint the sides :)
I hope this helps! ^_^ If you have anymore questions, just let me know. Also, let me know how it turns out!
Different Facets of Print on Canvas
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